“Polite racism” is a particularly insidious form because it bubbles up in everyday settings but easily goes unchecked, experts say.
In a now viral video of a white couple confronting a Filipino American man painting Black Lives Matter in front of his own home, sheds light on “polite racism”
Juanillo (pictured above) says his own run-in with the white couple revealed different layers of racial biases and how they reinforce one another.
“There’s a tidal wave of brown and Black and multicultural lives that are truly impacted by racism on a spectrum,” he said. “There’s Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd on the most extreme and cruel end. Then there are the “Karens” of the world who are overreacting and privileged, and who are seeing their power crumble before their very eyes.”
The more latent type of racial abuse can be harder to detect and address because it doesn’t seem especially pernicious to less informed white people, said Monnica Williams, a clinical psychologist and director of the Laboratory for Culture and Mental Health Disparities at the University of Connecticut.
“Most people of color endure many, many micro-aggressions all the time. Nobody says anything and no one speaks on their behalf,” said Williams, who also conducts workshops and interventions to reduce racism. “When every encounter is potentially a life or death experience, the last thing you want to do is call a cop, so you may be at higher risk of being harmed or victimized. It makes you feel like nowhere is safe, like the country you’re born into doesn’t protect you.”
Williams said “polite racism” is a particularly insidious form because it bubbles up in everyday settings but easily goes unchecked.